A Prince Edward Island advocate for medicinal marijuana is praising the province’s decision to allow up to four cannabis plants per home and consumption in “designated spaces” after legal cannabis sales start up.
The province provided updated plans Tuesday for the sale of marijuana once the federal government has passed its legalization bill for recreational use later this year.
The P.E.I. government has already said the legal age for buying cannabis will be 19, and that cannabis will be sold at four government stores around the Island, as well as online, with adults being allowed to carry a maximum of 30 grams.
The rules spelled out Tuesday make it clear that Islanders will be allowed to grow up to four plants in residences, provided minors don’t have access to them. As well, there will be “certain designated spaces” where consumption will be permitted.
“I think that’s fantastic,” said Annie MacEachern, an marijuana advocate based in Charlottetown.
“I think it’s wonderful to allow anyone who would like the option to grow their own plants at home. Especially as we will have only four government (marijuana) outlets on the Island.
“It will be a big weight off the system if some cannabis consumers on the Island make the choice to grow their own.”
MacEachern, who has organized several public forums on the legalization of marijuana, said she was worried there might be delays on the Island in bringing in designated spaces outside of residences for consuming marijuana.
She said she’s hopeful those spaces will be designated private marijuana lounges, rather than locations such as bars and restaurants where alcohol is sold.
MacEachern said alcohol and marijuana consumption should not occur at the same time.
“I thought we wouldn’t see consumption sites for at least another year. And that was something I worried about. ... I was worried about tourists coming and not having any place to consume,” she said.
The province has said the four government shops will sell seeds and seedlings, in addition to dried cannabis and cannabis oil, but it doesn’t plan to sell edible versions of the drug.
Nova Scotia said earlier this week it will restrict areas where cannabis can be consumed recreationally.
Justice Minister Mark Furey said the province will add five new areas to the Smoke-free Places Act where smoking of both products will be banned.
That includes smoking or vaping of cannabis or tobacco on or near playgrounds, publicly owned sport and recreation sites, public trails, and provincial parks and beaches — except within a rented campsite.
Furey says people will be able to smoke and vape cannabis in their own homes, on their private property, or in their apartment if it is permitted in the lease.
However, cannabis use will not be allowed in vehicles under new legislation to be introduced during this legislative session. Violations of the new rules carry a fine of up to $2,000.
Both provinces plan to add marijuana to legislation governing impaired driving.